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[list-lis] /ˈlɪst lɪs/
having or showing little or no interest in anything; languid; spiritless; indifferent:
a listless mood; a listless handshake.
Origin of listless
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English lystles. See list4, -less
Related forms
listlessly, adverb
listlessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for listlessness
Historical Examples
  • "I didn't expect to accomplish anything by this talk," she said, relapsing into listlessness.

    Jewel Clara Louise Burnham
  • There was courage in that, I saw, for all the listlessness of the tone in which it had been uttered.

    The Prairie Mother Arthur Stringer
  • Marie accepted without enthusiasm—and her listlessness was not lost over forty miles of telephone wire.

    Cabin Fever B. M. Bower
  • His manner was the extreme of listlessness—the listlessness of great fatigue.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • He complained of the listlessness and want of attention of the Indians to the truths by Mr. G., his spiritual guide.

  • But now of a sudden Sir Oliver's listlessness was all dispelled.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • Yet there remained always in the look that quality, not of listlessness, but of abstraction.

    The Cassowary Stanley Waterloo
  • "Gafferson," Thorpe repeated, very slowly, and with almost an effect of listlessness.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • Her apathy and listlessness, her strangely vacant look, combined with the wonderful beauty of her countenance, held me fascinated.

    Hushed Up William Le Queux
  • A listlessness had come upon me, and I obeyed the pointing finger.

    To Have and To Hold Mary Johnston
British Dictionary definitions for listlessness


disinclined for any effort or exertion; lacking vigour, enthusiasm, or energy
Derived Forms
listlessly, adverb
listlessness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from list desire + -less
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for listlessness

having no inclination or spirit; characterized by unwillingingness to exert

Word Origin

Middle English list 'desire' + less's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for listlessness



mid-15c., from Middle English liste "pleasure, joy, delight" (see list (v.4)) + -less. Related: Listlessly; listlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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